Apps, maps and tweets: The essential tech toolkit to help you handle Delhi’s odd-even trial

Delhi odd even gif

If you live in Delhi or its sprawling suburbs, this New Year brings along something that’s actually new. Delhi’s much debated odd-even formula for non-transport vehicles goes on effect for 15 days from January 1, 2016.

Delhi’s air is toxic and such desperate times call for desperate measures. The odd-even plan seeks to make it a little less dangerous for citizens to breathe in the air in what is the world’s most polluted capital.

We have here a primer on the odd-even plan and how to make use of what technology has on offer to make this effort towards a healthier Delhi air a little easier on commuters.

Infographic explaining the odd-even plan

Infographic explaining Delhi

As technology has simplified our lives (okay, also complicated it a bit), it surely has ways to make your alternate car-less days less of a hassle.

Apps, maps and more (Image: Shutterstock)

Set reminders

While the formula is simple – cars with registration numbers ending with an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) can travel on odd days (1st, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th and 15th) and cars with even number plates (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) can travel on even days (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 12th and 14th) – 3rd and 10th of January 2016 are Sundays and Sundays are exempt for all cars. But as this is a new practice, many of us will simply forget that this isn’t the day our car should be out on Delhi roads and the fact will strike us only when see a policeman signalling to stop the car.

Smartphone notifications (Image: Shutterstock)

Calendar notifications are simple and effective way to manage this. Set an alert for a couple of hours before you head out for work, so that you are ready for whatever the Delhi commute might have in store for you.

You could also use take help of cross-platform to-do apps such as Wunderlist to fill in the gaps in your memory.

Map your day

Planning always helps. And Google Maps is perhaps the most effective way (far from perfect, but still the best option available for Delhi) of planning it. Available on the browser and also on iOS and Android, Google Maps can help you plan the commute and give you suggestions of the public transport options available and the time it will take you to reach your destination along with real-time traffic updates.

Many commuters who live and work outside Delhi but travel through Delhi can find alternate routes through which they can bypass the city and therefore the odd-even tangle.

Google Maps route suggestions

Google had also recently launched its experimental Delhi Public Transport Offline app to make it easier for Delhiites to access public transport. The app is built into Google Maps and Google says it can let users access transit direction even on slow connections. Direction and time table information for Delhi Metro and buses are also available offline on the app. The app comes as a 1 MB download and is available for Android users from the Google Play store. It uses transit data for Delhi Metro, DTC buses, DIMTS (Orange) buses, and Gurgaon Rapid Metro.

Waze is another highly-rated app that is community powered and in addition to other features you can share estimated time of arrival and real-time positions to update those you’re meeting.

Ridlr tells you when the next bus or Metro will arrive and also gives info about combining multiple modes of transport. Timetables can be downloaded for use when without an internet connection.

Take a taxi

You could call up your neighbourhood taxi stand or use one of the much-in-the-news taxi hailing apps to book a ride. The most popular of such apps are Ola, TaxiForSure (acquired by Ola), Uber and Meru.

Taxi hailing apps

While Meru’s rates are on the higher side, Uber’s prices a prone to surging when you want a taxi the most. In our limited tests we found TaxiForSure living up to its name. However, it is difficult to ascertain how the performance would be given that the demand would rise substantially during the odd-even trial.

There are also services such as Office Commuters, specifically designed for office pickups and drops. We, however, didn’t get a chance to test their services.

Pool it out

Carpooling – the good old solution for traffic woes and technology makes it even easier to share rides.

Carpooling (Image: Shutterstock)

All the big taxi hailing services have announced rollout of their ride-sharing features – OlaShare, uberPOOL and Meru’s Carpool.

There are many other carpooling apps around, such as, Orahi and BlaBlaCar.

Sarkaar bharose

The Delhi government also announced its own app PoochhO (sometimes spelt as Pooch-O or Poocho) to help Delhiites commute during the odd-even trial. We tested the app and found it to be a non-starter with the app repeatedly crashing on a number of devices along with a poor design.

Delhi government’s PoochhO app

Delhi Metro Rail is a handy app to have on your phone if you intend to take the Metro.

Tweet away your travel woes

Twitter has emerged as an effective communication tool during times of crisis. The odd-even plan is no different.

Twitter India and Delhi government have announced that users can use the Twitter to get information about bus routes, Metro, autorickshaws during the road-rationing experiment.

Traffic tweets (Images via Shutterstock [1] [2])

Twitter users can get details of public transport available in particular areas by tweeting #PollutionFreeDelhi followed by the departure and destination point. Users, who do not wish to make their location public, can send a message to @TransportDelhi and thereafter, he or she will get destination details to be sent by @TransportDelhi.

Got more tech solutions to help make the travel in Delhi easier during the odd-even days? Let us know in the comments or tweet to us at @IBNLiveTech.

(Delhi skyline images [1] [2] on the infographic and animated GIF via Shutterstock)

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